Winter/Spring 2009 Progress Report
It’s a “quiet period,” so you know what that means. It’s time for the seasonal ballpark progress report.
First up, the home team. All of the indicators have been reset back to zero, with the exception of funding. Cisco’s continued pledge to provide naming rights for a new ballpark in the Bay Area is the one factor here. One thing we don’t know is whether the substance of the naming rights agreement will change as the site changes from Fremont to somewhere else. The deal between the A’s and Cisco included a real estate component, and while Lew Wolff maintains interest in the Fremont land for future development, that component may be worth less than when the deal was originally struck.
San Jose is just getting started on much of the political stuff. Yes, the initial EIR is done, but I won’t nudge the Political Process indicator over until an updated EIR is certified. In addition, Site Acquisition won’t be moved until both the A’s and the City come to terms on the Diridon South site or an alternative.
A crucial vote by the Miami city commission is scheduled for tomorrow. The last vote was deadlocked, as one of the commissioners was on maternity leave and the other four could not come to an agreement on certain financial terms and last minute requests. In the last week there’s been talk of a bill to make all publicly funded venues subject to a referendum. There’s also been a deal to guarantee a percentage of construction contracts to black contractors that was completed then rescinded. Last month’s drama-filled session was no snoozefest, so tomorrow’s vote might force me to stream it alongside tourney coverage. This vote won’t be the end of the line, though, as Miami-Dade County has its own commission that needs to vote on the deal next week. Update 3/19 11:30 AM: Miami City Commission has passed the ballpark plan 3-2, after a mountain of discussion large enough to kill my tourney buzz.
I’ve added Tampa Bay to the report, as they’ve been stepping up their efforts to leave Tropicana Field sooner than later. The plan proposed last year, which would have converted tiny Al Lang Field into a major league facility in downtown St. Pete, was scrapped in favor of something less polarizing. Now they are looking north along the I-275 corridor for vacant land, ancillary development, and better access to fans in Tampa. The Rays, like the A’s, have a long way to go. Unlike the A’s, the Rays’ lease at the Trop runs through the 2027 season.
Heavy lifting for the Twins has been already been done. They’ve gotten through a contentious battle over public financing (sales tax hike without a referendum), and everything is essentially built. The only remaining issue is a reconfiguration of the garbage burning facility across the street, to keep the stench that wafts over when the doors open from violating the sensitivities and appetites of fans who might want a hot dog or nachos.
Talk of Citigroup pulling back on its 20 year, $400 million naming rights deal with the Mets has died down as the feds have focused more on the budget and now, AIG. It could come up again in the future. Other than that, they’re good to go.
The pinstripers got a $105 million loan to cover the remaining construction costs at the new palace of opulence in the Bronx. Area residents are still waiting for NY to complete the public parks that were promised.
Another edition will come in May, as the San Jose thing starts to shake out.